Super SOPA Bros. Brings a Political Spin to Tribute Games
While most people squirm eagerly for Super Mario Crossover 2.0, one Mario tribute game showed players just how bland tribute games can be after SOPA and PIPA.
Like other tribute games, the basic controls of Super Mario Bros. is presented with some kind of change. In this case, any element that is proprietary to the original game were blacked out (see image above).
Tribute games are a way for independent developers to build their portfolio while looking for a job. These games are not for profit and made available for free on the web.
However, after SOPA or PIPA, these portfolio builders would disappear from the web. Sure, it would be nice to see every developer show the most unique and original game ever made, but for many developers, there is no need. Unless a person is aiming to become a lead designer or creative director, a person really just needs to show a knowledge of coding skills.
But tributes do far more than reskin a game. PC modders take original content and develop their own levels, characters, and even games. Defend of the Ancients, or DotA, was a mod based on the original Starcraft that created a new genre of gaming. From a mod of a game, Riot Games was able to create League of Legends, following the genre ideas set forth in DotA.
After SOPA and PIPA, any new idea in gaming would be contended in legal battles. Blizzard could sue Riot for making a game with the same genre as DotA. From that, the modders who made the free DotA on their own time could sue Blizzard for making money off of their volunteer project.
Everyone sues everyone, and copyright law becomes a nightmare. Trademark laws are being tested with Valve’s attempt to register the word “DOTA,” and any more litigation would cripple the gaming industry.
Fortunately, yesterday’s #BlackoutSOPA caused many supporters to back away from the controversial bills. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) co-sponsored PIPA and stated his unmovable support of the bill through email correspondence in December. However, after getting a flood of emails and phone calls, he officially pulled his support of the bill.
PIPA will hit the Senate floor on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and many believe it will not be able to reach the 60-vote minimum to move forward.